News / Asia

Korea Wins Olympic Gold in Short Track Speed Skating

South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
Parke Brewer
Short track speed skating at the Winter Olympics, especially the relay races, often provide controversial results. That was the case Tuesday in the women's 3,000-meter relay. 
 
There is no doubt one of the reasons short track speed skating was added to the Olympic program in 1992 is because of the thrill and drama it often provides.
 
Unlike long track speed skating where the athletes race in pairs, essentially against the clock, the short track skaters compete in packs of usually between four and six, on a much smaller oval. With tight turns and always the chance for falls and crashes, the skaters wear hard helmets.
 
And there are a number of ways a contestant or team can be disqualified, including impeding, skating outside the designated area and false starts.
 
In the women's 3,000-meter relay, the South Koreans jumped the opening gun for a false start. Another false start and they would have been disqualified. Instead, their final skater, Shim Suk Hee, passed the Chinese with half-a-lap to go and crossed the finish line first for the gold medal. 
 
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics the Koreans were disqualified for illegal contact after thinking they had won the gold.  Though she was not on that team, Shim said through a translator, she certainly remembered the heartbreak of her countrywomen.
 
"When I went past the [finish] line, even though I was watching it on TV four years ago, I still thought of that moment," she said.  "It came up to my head. I was really happy and I could feel what my other teammates who took part in it felt and I was more happy for them."
 
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
x
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
China was the beneficiary of the Koreans' disqualification four years ago, moving up to the gold. This time it was the Chinese who were disqualified for an improper move after finishing second. That meant the Canadians were elevated from third place to the silver medal, and the Italians, who had a skater fall early in the race, were advanced from fourth place to the bronze medal.
 
Canadian Marianne St-Gelais said she and her teammates were as surprised as anyone that they ended up with the silver medal.
 
"We were proud of what we did," said St-Gelais. "So when we saw we came in third we were happy, but we didn't know something happened because we hadn't seen anything in the race. So when we saw the final result we were proud. Like we wanted the gold medal for sure because it's never happened, but we're really, really satisfied with the silver."
 
After the Italians suffered their crash, the public address announcer brought laughter from the crowd when he announced that they were now "about 15 years behind" the other three teams. Italian Arianna Fontana said they did not let the crash bother them.
 
"We didn't give up. We kept going. We tried to go fast anyway, and in the end when we saw that the Chinese got [disqualified], we were really excited, really happy and we couldn't believe it," said Fontana.
 
For the South Koreans, considered one of the strongest short track speed skating teams at these Winter Games, the women's relay win was their first gold medal in five of the eight scheduled events.

Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More